In her teaching, lectures, and writings, Lucy M. Candib, M.D. has raised awareness of various possibilities for improving physician-patient relationships, with a special emphasis on bringing caring to the fore. Dr. Candib has taught and practiced family medicine, including obstetrics, in an urban neighborhood family health center in Worcester, Massachusetts, for the past twenty-five years. The Family Health Center serves as a residency training site within the University of Massachusetts, where she is a professor of family medicine and community health.
In her book Medicine and the Family: A Feminist Perspective, Dr. Candib explores the assumptions underlying current teachings about child and adult development, sexual abuse, the family life cycle, and family systems. She also examines the ways in which women are often ignored, subordinated, or blamed in the modern medical system. Dr. Candib then shows how “doctors-in-relation” allow caring to become the core of clinical work, and contrasts that to the “traditional” medical emphasis on so-called rationality and objectivity.
For the Women’s Health Project at the University of Massachusetts residency program, Dr. Candib has delineated thirteen principles she calls the “Tenets of Women’s Health.” She has lectured widely on the topics of sexual abuse and violence against women. Over her career, she has also focused attention on the concerns of women trainees and practitioners in her work with family practice residents.
Dr. Candib inspires physicians to get more out of their relationship with their patients and encourages active listening. She also examines the vulnerability of patients, physicians, families, and communities, going beyond the patient perspective to address the effects of societal and economic constraints on physicians and the community.
Physicians deal every day with difficult topics, beyond disease states. Dr. Candib observes that today’s health care providers are likely to encounter patients who are survivors of inflicted atrocities and abuse, sometimes the result of genocidal conflicts, and have to work with their suffering. “People fleeing horrendous circumstances bring persisting memories that produce symptoms even for the next generation…Clinicians around the world need to be willing and able to acknowledge and witness the profound sources of experiential pain in the lives of their patients.”
In 1995 Dr. Candib won a Fulbright grant to teach family medicine in Ecuador, where she spent a year as visiting professor at Pontificia Catholic University. In 1993 she received the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Excellence in Education Award, which recognizes leadership within the Society for Teachers in support of teaching, curriculum development, research, or other aspects of medical student or resident education. Dr. Candib also received the Outstanding Primary Care Research, Generalist Physician Initiative award in 1997 from University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Candib combines clinical work and teaching three days a week with research, reading, and writing. She lives with her life partner and occasional co-author, Richard Schmitt; together they have raised two children.
Dr. Barbara Lent is a family physician based in London, Ontario, Canada. Starting in 1979, she practiced in a private office setting, and then, in 1994, she moved her practice to a community-based academic clinic in a socially disadvantaged neighbourhood, where she supervised medical students and family medicine residents. She also served as Associate Dean of Equity and Professionalism at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University from 2004 – 2010. Since 2010, she has acted as the academic representative to the provincial physician regulatory college (the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario) for Western University, where she participates on numerous College committees, including the Discipline, Registration and Education Committees.
Her research has largely focused on woman abuse as a health issue, and has participated in various local and provincial committees that address intimate partner violence. She collaborated with physician and nursing colleagues in studying the health consequences of leaving an abusive relationship, and the role of screening for woman abuse in health care settings.
Dr. Lent has participated actively in several local, provincial and national committees that address gender and equity issues. In addition, she has contributed to the WONCA Working Party on Women and Family Medicine since its inception.
When not fulfilling these roles, Dr. Lent enjoys playing trumpet with Western University’s New Horizons Band and “hanging out” with her three adult children and two grandsons.
Dr. Cheryl Levitt is a family physician and a tenured professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. She was born in South Africa, trained at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and did her internship at Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto.
She left South Africa in 1977 for Canada and practiced rurally in British Columbia from 1977-1984. Dr. Levitt has been an academic family physician since 1984 at McGill and McMaster Universities. She was appointed as a member of the Discipline Committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2012.
She was Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University from 1996-2006 and President of the Ontario College of Family Medicine from 2005-2006. She has lead the Quality in Family Practice project from 2000 – 2009 and published the Quality in Family Practice Book of Tools in 2010. Dr. Levitt was the College of Family Physician of Canada Senior Research Advisor from 2012-2015. From 2008 – 2011, she was the Provincial Primary Care Lead for Cancer Care Ontario.
Dr. Levitt was the founding Chair of the WONCA (World Organization of Family Doctors) Working Party on Women and Family Medicine from 2004-2007 and led the development of the HER Statement, the gender equity WONCA Bylaws changes and GES.
Dr. Levitt has published widely on primary care issues, medical migration of foreign doctors, gender equity and maternal and child health.
She has received a number of awards amongst which she was awarded the South African Women for Women HEALTH Award in 2004, the WONCA (World Organization of Family Doctors) Fellowship Award in 2010, the Jean Pierre Depins award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 2010 and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Health Wellness for the City of Hamilton in 2011.